WASHINGTON After nearly two years of prosecution, Mun Chol Myong (Mun), 55, from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been extradited to the United States. This case represents the first ever extradition to the United States of a DPRK national. Mun is accused of laundering money through the US financial system as part of a program to provide luxury items to the DPRK.
The indictment alleges that Mun defrauded banks and laundered money in an attempt to evade counter-proliferation sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United States and the United Nations, the United States said. Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. “He is the first North Korean intelligence officer and the second foreign intelligence officer to be extradited to the United States for violating our laws. We will continue to use the long reach of our laws to protect the American people against sanctions fraud and other threats to national security.
We are pleased that Mun has been extradited and will stand trial for the offenses alleged in the indictment, said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia. The United States Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia will always be ready to protect our nation’s financial system and prosecute those who break our laws, no matter where they may be hiding.
One of the biggest challenges in FBI counterintelligence is bringing foreign defendants to justice, especially in the case of North Korea, said deputy director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the Counterintelligence Division. FBI espionage. Through the FBI’s partnership with foreign authorities, we are proud to bring Mun Chol Myong to the United States for trial, and we hope it will be the first in a long series.
It is important to stress the relevance of this very first extradition of a North Korean national, said Special Agent in Charge Michael F. Paul of the FBI field office in Minneapolis. Our Minneapolis agents have been working this case closely with international partners, highlighting how persistent FBI Special Agents are and have international impact wherever they are.
According to the indictment and other unsealed court documents today, between April 2013 and November 2018, Mun and others conspired to covertly and fraudulently gain access to the U.S. financial system. Mun allegedly defrauded U.S. banks and violated U.S. and United Nations (UN) sanctions as part of his money laundering activities in transactions valued at over $ 1.5 million. The indictment further alleges that Mun was affiliated with the DPRK’s main intelligence organization, the General Reconnaissance Bureau, which is subject to US and UN sanctions.
Mun has been detained in a foreign country since his arrest by local authorities on May 14, 2019. He appeared for the first time today in federal court in the District of Columbia, where he was charged on May 2, 2019. Mun does facing six counts of money laundering, including conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the indictment, Mun and his conspirators went to great lengths to avoid spotting their sanction circumvention operation. They used a network of shell companies and bank accounts registered under false names and removed references to the DPRK from international wire transfers and transaction documents. By intentionally concealing that their transactions were for the benefit of DPRK entities, Mun and his conspirators deceived U.S. correspondent banks into processing U.S. dollar transactions for the benefit of DPRK entities, which the correspondent banks do. otherwise would not have been processed.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI field office in Minneapolis and coordinated by the FBI Counterintelligence Division. The Department of Justice also wishes to thank the United States Indo-Pacific Command and the FBI’s Investigative Operations Division for their analytical support during the investigation. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Muns. The FBI’s Washington field office also provided critical support during the extradition process.
Deputy United States Attorneys Michael P. Grady and Tejpal S. Chawla of the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Counsel David C. Recker of the Counterintelligence and Control Section National Security Divisions Exports, with support from Paralegal Specialist Brian Rickers and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick, is pursuing the case.
An indictment is simply a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and any defendant is presumed innocent until and unless their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.
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